Just moments ago, I received word that the response from Google Home for “who is Jesus” was updated to “Religion can be complicated, and I’m still learning.” I have verified on multiple devices that this is correct and it also applies to asking about other major religious figures. We’re not sure at this point what Google’s future plans are but clearly, it is a work in progress. I, for one, am glad to see this step initiated and look forward to Google’s handling the matter.
Before you close your browser let me take a moment to put your mind at rest. First and foremost, I am a Believer, a follower of The Way; a Christian if you will. With that being said, my beliefs are my own and I do not use this platform to voice personal doctrine. This is not the purpose of Chrome Unboxed.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, I want to make it clear that this article is not a response to any personal offense taken on my part. Nor is it in any way an effort to force my personal beliefs on anyone.
My only goal is to point out that something is off kilter with one of Google’s products and I would be remiss if I didn’t point it out. As much as we are fans of all things Google, we would be doing a disservice if we avoided that shadier side of tech in favor of ambiguity.
Still, I understand that my views expressed henceforth may be unpopular with many in and outside of the tech world.
So be it.
I will go ahead and drop a video here for you to watch before we dive into a discussion. Don’t worry, it will only take a minute to watch.
So, Google Home apparently has an issue acknowledging easily accessible information about Jesus. Yet, ask about other major figures from religions around the world and you can get the same information you’d expect from a traditional Google web search.
Again, I did not run to my Chromebook to scream “religious oppression.” Instead, I would ask why Google, a company that preaches diversity and inclusion, seems to be intentionally side-stepping the center of Christian faith?
In doing a bit of research for this article I actually stumbled upon Google’s website dedicated specifically to their vision of diversity where you will find statements such as:
Celebrate inclusion through our products
Seems a tad contradictory in my humble opinion. Don’t get me wrong. I greatly enjoy my Google Home products. I use them daily and even my kids have grown to expect interaction with the Home Mini in my living room. It’s a great product.
I repeated these searches with the Assistant on my mobile phone and got similar results for Muhammad and Buddha. Both offer up a profile card for the religious founders but searching Jesus or Jesus Christ brings only web results as if the Assistant is intentionally avoiding giving Jesus a label and is content returning search results.
We played around with different questions and found that the Assistant doesn’t avoid the subject of Jesus altogether. Asking about the Last Supper will give you a Biblical account of the event. As for the question “Who is Jesus?”, the only combination that will incite an answer from Google Home is “who is Jesus of Nazareth?”
While Biblically and historically accurate, one would expect Google Home to be more “inclusive” and simply answer the initial questions just like it does for the other religious figures.
At the end of the day, I have to ask myself (and Google) what the reasoning is behind this unusual happenstance. I would love to think that this is a simple matter of a glitch in the system but I seriously have a hard time swallowing that when it comes to this type of subject matter.
Is Google purposely avoiding the inclusion of Jesus in their Home products? Could it be that their global presence has caused them to err on the side of caution as not to offend the non-Christian population or is it something more insidious at that?
It is my hope that Google would adhere to their own practices of diversity and inclusion by presenting non-biased results from their Google Home platform. This is not even a matter of religious equality so much as it is a corporation needing to practice what they preach.
Google, the ball is in your court.